Voice of the Fugitive: Newspaper Used to Communicate with Underground Railroad Supporters

0 Posted by - September 6, 2020 - BLACK ABOLITIONIST, LATEST POSTS, SLAVERY

Voice of the Fugitive was the first Black newspaper in Canada. The paper was first published in 1851 and ended in 1853. It was published in the community of Sandwich, which is now Windsor, Ontario.

The abolitionist newspaper promoted Canada as a destination for runaway slaves and as a vehicle to find other family members. It was published biweekly at a subscription rate of one dollar per year.


The Voice of the Fugitive used its popularity to promote various causes, such as the Homes for Refugees fund. The contents of the paper also included poetry, news from around the world, and stories of slaves and fugitive slaves from throughout North America.

The newspaper was started by Henry and Mary Bibb. Henry Bibb learned to read and write as an adult. He became an anti-slavery lecturer based in Detroit, Michigan, and met Mary Elizabeth Miles, a free woman born in Rhode Island, while on a speaking tour. The couple married in 1847.

Mary Bibb had been trained as a school teacher and was very involved in the anti-slavery cause. The paper was then used as an important means of communicating with Underground Railroad supporters. Not only did they start the newspaper, they founded a school for Black children who were not allowed to attend public schools.

After the Fugitive Slave Act was passed by US Congress in 1850, Henry and Mary Bibb decided it was too dangerous for them to remain in the United States, so they moved to Sandwich, Canada.

Henry Bibb died at the age of 39 in 1854. Mary remarried Isaac N. Cary, a man from an important abolitionist family in Toronto. She later died in 1877 in New York.




Henry and Mary Bibb, Publishers of the Voice of the Fugitive newspaper

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